Boosting the Housing Market and Preventing Foreclosures
From Senator Merkley's office

Since the housing bubble burst and brought the economy to its knees, the recovery process has been painfully slow for America's working families. To make matters worse, the depressed housing market and prolonged foreclosure crisis continue to hinder a true economic recovery.

Over 300,000 foreclosures have been filed against American families each month for the past 20 months. In the past year alone, nearly 28,000 Oregon families have been served with foreclosure filings. Every single foreclosure in a neighborhood brings down the value of the homes nearby, which means more uncertainty in the economy. Make no mistake about it the housing crisis is an economic crisis.

In an effort to breathe life into the nation's troubled housing market, Senator Merkley is proposing a six-point plan to boost homeownership and prevent foreclosures from doing further damage to our communities. Senator Merkley's plan would do the following:

Assist families facing foreclosure through a national "short refinance" program that would enable such homeowners to refinance their mortgages based on current interest rates and home values;

Stop the "dual track" in which banks continue foreclosures while considering homeowners' applications for loan modifications; Require loan servicers to provide homeowners with a single point of access at the loan servicing company when they seek a loan modification, which will improve accountability and ensure greater clarity during the process;

Make sure any homeowner facing foreclosure can have an independent third-party review their case to make sure they have been treated fairly and every option to keep them in their home has been pursued;

Implement the "lifeline" bankruptcy option by providing bankruptcy judges with the power to modify the terms of home loans just as they can with vacation homes and yachts;

and Bolster the housing market by providing a permanent tax credit to help first-time homebuyers make a down payment.

As the former Director of Portland's Habitat for Humanity, Merkley knows how central homeownership is to the long-term stability of working families. He is as determined as ever to get the nation's housing market on the path to recovery and stop foreclosing on the American dream.
Source: United States Senate Press Release

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